Bay Area beach wedding, couple in water with golden gate bridge background

Happiness is a San Francisco Beach Wedding

Bay Area Beach Wedding

Let’s get married on the beach.  A beach wedding can be a delight.  Your Bay Area beach wedding can take place during the day, mostly during the week. When the weather is right it is magic.  To really enjoy a beach wedding it’s all about planning. First plan around the possibility of fog or wind or both.  Our guide to the beaches includes years of experience at these locations.  We have selected our top three favorites to feature.  The beaches are very restricted in regards to when and how events happen on the beach.

Here are some of the terms of use that are helpful to understand when dreaming of a beach wedding.

  • First, the city does not want other visitors to be impeded by your event.  Exclusive use is not provided.  It’s recommended that you schedule your event early in the day if you wish more privacy.
  • Available parking is limited, often crowded and not guaranteed. Parking spaces may not be reserved or held. Car-pooling or van shuttles are highly recommended.
  • The backdrop is your set up.  Special equipment, such as canopies, arches, chairs, or other decorations may require further review, additional permit fees and are not allowed in certain areas.  Set up is rare.
  • During peak season March 15 – October 15, holidays or large city events no permits are issued.  Horse-drawn carriages, electric carts, and hot air balloons are prohibited. Fires, candles, tiki torches and all other forms of open flame are prohibited. Amplified music is prohibited. Acoustic music will be considered. Exceptions may be made for portable tape decks/CD players at certain locations.
  • To protect park-lands and wildlife, the releasing of balloons, doves or butterflies and the throwing of rice, birdseed, flower petals or other natural or artificial material is not allowed. Affixing directional signage to existing buildings, property, signs, poles or plants is not allowed and will be removed immediately by personnel.
  • All trash associated with your private event must be bagged and removed from the park.

Bay Area Beach Wedding Permits

Beaches offered provide the best option for a beach wedding ceremony. Each beach has different use permit required. As noted the best days for a beach wedding are the weekdays. Weekends can be an added challenge or not available. Permits are rarely available during peak season. If you plan a weekend wedding it’s best to begin before noon to miss the crowds. It can be impossible to plan around large city events that happen without public notice or in advance. Flexibility can be required when booking beach locations.

Bay Area Beach Wedding Details

  • Best day of the week: Monday through Friday.
  • Best time of day: Between 10 am – 1 pm due to fog and wind patterns on the bay.
  • Fall & Winter Saturday & Sunday Beach Wedding’s: Permits are available October through March.
  • Spring & Summer Saturday & Sunday Beach Wedding’s: Permits are not available April through September.
  • Exceptions Apply: when it’s the officiant with the bride and groom only. Call for details.

Bay Area Beach Wedding Venues

The Bluff ~ Up to 20 guests. This location is less windy than the other beaches with the Golden Gate Bridge Vista. Easy access.

  • Weekends are extremely busy. For ease, grace and a more idyllic setting select a weekday.
  • If you opt for a weekend wedding select the earliest part of the day for fewer people and less wind.

Rock Beach ~ Up to 10 guests. Over 10 people the fee is $255. $400 with any kind of set-up + $360 if you need vehicle access. Couples like the rock formations at this beach and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. It is often foggy. Early in the day is best to avoid winds. There is a walk down via a staircase and long paved path.

Ocean Side Beach – Up to 10 guests. This beach is on the ocean side which means no view of the Golden Gate bridge. Couples like the rocks at this beach. Permit for over 10 guests is available.

The Golden Gate – Up to 10 guests. Overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Skyline. Couples from around the world are awestruck by this venue’s vistas.

Pipe Beach – Up to 8 guests. This beach is small and the tide determines how small. This area can be a little quieter and less busy than some of the other beach venues.

These locations are best for small weddings. Beach weddings are designed for wedding group below 20 people for The Bluff.  Under 10 for Rock Beach & Ocean Beach. Packages begin at $500 for location, officiant, and ceremony. If you would like more guests, that can be arranged for additional venue fees. Additional services can be added as well. Read our blog post about planning a beach wedding.

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My SF Wedding
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by MaryBeth Kopsovich on My SF Wedding
Ema Drouillard

I cannot say enough great things about Ema! She made the entire process of planning our wedding so stress-free (we planned it from our home in Texas). We looked at many different officiants/elopement packages online, but something made us keep coming back to Ema’s website and webpage. I’m so glad we did! She was communicative with us, scheduled a phone conference to get our thoughts on how we wanted the ceremony, and she was extremely responsive via email. This made our communication across different time zones so much easier! Also - she gave us some good suggestions (what to bring, what not to bring, what to wear, how to wear our hair, etc.), so I encourage others to follow them! She knows what she’s talking about!!

Ema is such a kind, gentle soul. She truly made our special day the best day of our lives. In addition to officiating our ceremony, Ema also took our photographs. Her gift for photography was apparent, as she would indicate the lighting was good or bad, she would take shots with different angles, and she took us around the beach, the Bay, and the pier. It was clear to us that Ema has a gift for photography, as she was familiar with the area and knew exactly what she was doing.

Ema maintained a professional demeanor throughout our correspondence and encounters with her. I highly recommend her to help take care of your special day. She is the absolute best.

by Colleen Ransome on My SF Wedding

Ema was absolutely amazing! She took the time to speak with both my husband and myself and answered any questions I/we had. She made sure that our wedding ceremony was everything we wanted. My guests even made comments about how wonderful she made the ceremony. I highly recommend Ema's services, she made it such a wonderful and stress free day for us both. I can't thank you enough Ema! You have a true gift for making people's wedding day perfect!

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Ema Drouillard, Officiant/ Photographer Offering Intimate Wedding Events in San Francisco, Sonoma & Marin